Wayne Thiebaud – Merriment
Sep 7 — Oct 31, 2017
Check gallery website for hours and additional info
SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Crown Point Press announces the exhibition Wayne Thiebaud – Merriment, which focuses on light-heartedness and wit as seen in a new group of Thiebaud’s prints. “If we don’t have a sense of humor,” Thiebaud has said, “we lack a sense of perspective.” On display September 7 to October 31, the exhibition features etchings of bow-ties and clowns that were made by the artist in the spring of 2017 at Crown Point, and also includes a classic gumball machine reworked from earlier days. A sense of playfulness, delight, and nostalgia weave through all the prints, old and new. There will be a reception with the artist on Wednesday, September 13, from 6-8pm.
The exhibition selects from the prints Thiebaud has made over six decades at Crown Point Press. He depicts the simple things in life – a slice of cake, a pair of glasses, or a farm field outside Sacramento. By using memory and imagination, Thiebaud creates a universal childhood emotion of pure enjoyment in the etchings on view. Spheres of bubble gum in Gumball Machine (1964/2017) harken back to days where a penny would deliver a colored sweet.
A new portfolio of six hard ground etchings with drypoint is featured in the exhibition. Titled Clown Memories (2017), the portfolio includes scenes of clowns as Thiebaud remembers them from visiting the local circus as a child. Clowns were talented acrobats, tight-rope walkers, and lion tamers then. He balances cheer with melancholy and whimsy with isolation in Clown Memories. He shows clowns orating from an academic podium, adhering to a code of honor through an old-fashioned pistol duel, and giving affection to one another. An earlier soft ground etching of a red-nosed clown that dates to 1979 (and was printed by Crown Point’s founder Kathan Brown) accompanies the new portfolio in the exhibition.
Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920, and his family moved in 1921 to Long Beach, California, where he grew up. Thiebaud’s characteristic work presents consumer objects, such as fruit pies or lipsticks, as they are seen through shop display windows. He has also become known for his dramatic, reduced representations of the hilly San Francisco landscape and of the broader Northern California terrain. His work is in major museum collections in the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern, London. Wayne Thiebaud has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medal for Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2017), the UC Davis Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation (2016), the Lifetime Achievement Award for Art from the American Academy of Design, New York (2001), and the National Medal of Arts presented by President Clinton (1994). He lives and works in Sacramento, California, and his work is represented by Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco and Acquavella Galleries in New York.
Wayne Thiebaud – Merriment is on display in the Crown Point Gallery at 20 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, from September 7 – October 31, 2017. The exhibition is on view concurrently with TOM MARIONI at 80 in the Crown Point Gallery. The gallery hours are Monday 10-5 and Tuesday through Saturday 10-6.